Arianespace recently announced it will launch a total of eight new Galileo satellites over the next few years.
The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) selected Arianespace to launch four new Galileo satellites for Europe’s satellite navigation system, according to a news release. This comes after the European Space Agency’s (ESA) order to launch four satellites last October and will complete the deployment of first-generation Galileo satellites.
With this most recent order, EUSPA will take over the role of placing launch services contracts for Galileo from ESA, which acted in the name and on behalf of the European Commission. ESA will continue to be the technical authority for launches.
The satellites will be launched from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The first launch will take place in the first half of 2022 and will carry satellites from a previous order. A second Soyuz launch in 2022 will orbit the first two satellites. Three successive launches carrying two satellites each—Ariane 62 in 2023, 2024 and 2025—will finalize the launch of the first generation of Galileo satellites.
All eight satellites will be built by OHB System AG in Bremen, Germany, and weigh less than 730 kg. They will join the 28 Galileo satellites already deployed, as well as the two to be orbited in early 2022 from the Guiana Space Center by Arianespace.
These launches mark the 13th to 16th Galileo missions by Arianespace, which has orbited all satellites in the constellation.